Seven people have been killed and several injured in a shooting at a synagogue in Jerusalem, according to Israeli police.
The gunman was shot and killed and a large police presence was at the scene.
Three others were injured in the shooting, including a 15-year-old boy who was recovering from surgery, hospital officials said. The MADA rescue service said the dead included a 70-year-old woman.
Israeli police described it as a “terror attack” and said it took place in a synagogue in Neve Yaakov, considered by Israelis to be a neighbourhood within Jerusalem, while Palestinians and much of the international community consider it occupied land illegally annexed after the Six-Day War in 1967.
Police said the gunman fled in a car after opening fire and officers gave chase and after an exchange of fire killed him.
He was described as a 21-year-old resident of East Jerusalem who “carried out the attack at the scene alone”.
Jerusalem police chief Doron Turjeman promised an “aggressive and significant” effort to track down anyone who had helped him.
It comes after a deadly raid by the Israeli military yesterday that killed nine Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. A 10th was later killed north of Jerusalem.
Gaza militants then fired rockets and Israel responded with air strikes overnight. There were no reports of injuries.
Earlier today Palestinians marched in anger as they buried the last of the people killed by Israeli fire.
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem told Reuters: “This operation is a response to the crime conducted by the occupation in Jenin and a natural response to the occupation’s criminal actions”, though he stopped short of claiming the attack.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad also praised but did not claim the attack.
Without international intervention this situation threatens to spiral out of control
This terror attack came hours after the start of Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, on International Holocaust Memorial Day, and after a violent 48 hours in the West Bank.
An attack on a synagogue, with so many Israelis killed, will inflame an already dangerous situation.
The controversial far-right politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, now security minister in the new Netanyahu government, visited the scene of the attack and vowed a tough response.
Some Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank celebrated the synagogue attack as revenge for Israeli raids in Jenin earlier this week.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah at the start of next week.
He will urge de-escalation, but without international intervention, this situation threatens to spiral out of control.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply worried” by the escalation of violence and urged “utmost restraint”, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly condemned the attack, saying: “To attack worshippers at a synagogue on Holocaust Memorial Day, and during Shabbat, is horrific. We stand with our Israeli friends.”
The United States condemned the “apparent terrorist attack”, with US State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel saying he did not expect changes to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Israel next week.
“This is absolutely horrific. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those killed by this heinous act of violence. We condemn this apparent terrorist attack in the strongest terms. Our commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad,” he said.